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Gaithersburg Social Security Disability Law Blog

Do I need to have a work history to qualify for SSDI?

We use this blog to discuss the Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. Both are federal benefits programs that help compensate households that are affected by disability. SSDI, as we have said before, is meant for adults who used to be able to work, but cannot any longer due to disability.

Perhaps a previously manageable condition has become more severe, restricting what you are now capable of doing. Or perhaps you have sustained an accident or illness that has affected your health long-term. Either way, you may qualify for SSDI payments.

Exposing myths about treating bipolar disorder

People who are not living with bipolar disorder, or have a relative or close friend who is, may not know much about how this mental illness is treated. Even those in Maryland who have just been diagnosed may be uncertain about what to do. Do they have to take medication? What do they do when they feel a manic or depressive episode coming on?

Unfortunately, many myths exist about the proper treatment and care for people with bipolar. Today, we help expose those misconceptions for our readers.

SSA announces it's moving SSDI 1,800 cases out of Maryland

As we reported in our June 4 blog post, people in Baltimore and other parts of Central Maryland seeking Social Security Disability benefits may have to wait longer than Americans in almost any other part of the country. Appeals of SSDI denials in that part of the state take an average of 17 months to be resolved. That is a longer average wait time than in all but two Social Security Administration regions.

In response to this news, the SSA announced on June 13 that it was shifting about 1,800 cases out of state to ease the backlog. Those appeals are going to be heard by administrative law judges in two Virginia cities instead of Maryland. Many of the transferred appeals appear to have been pending the longest, so hopefully many disabled people will soon get a chance to get their SSDI denials overturned after months of waiting.

Teen walks 40 miles for cerebral palsy, with brother on his back

To help bring about their dream of greater mobility options for children with cerebral palsy, one family was inspired by a literal dream. A teenage boy recently carried his little brother on his back for 40 miles to encourage engineers to work on new technology to help the brother get around by himself.

The brothers’ trek occurred after their mother had a dream that the older brother carried his brother, who has cerebral palsy, to a town where the family goes on vacation. The older brother had already raised $350 by selling wristbands at his junior high school, but wanted to expand his efforts to a wider audience. The walk seemed to be a perfect way to bring attention to the family’s cause. But instead of the vacation spot, the brothers decided to walk to the University of Michigan.

In Central Maryland, SSDI appeals take about 17 months

People who were turned down for Social Security Disability benefits have the right to appeal the decision. Unfortunately, it may be a long time for an appeal to be heard by the Social Security Administration. This is often due to long backlogs at local SSA offices. Meanwhile, people living with a disabling illness or condition may have little to no income while they wait.

One of the worst parts of the country for delays in SSDI appeals is Central Maryland. The region has the third-longest average delay in the U.S. at 17 months. Major population centers like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago have significantly shorter average wait times.

2nd defendant pleads responsible for torturing autistic teen

After we discussed the troubling case of two Maryland teenagers accused of tormenting a boy with autism and endangering his life, readers may have wondered what happened to the other defendant in the case. One of the accused girls was sentenced to six years in juvenile detention in late April, but the case against the other girl was not finished at that time.

In an update to the case, the second girl, 17, has pleaded responsible to second-degree assault and distribution of an obscene video, both misdemeanors in Maryland. The plea is the juvenile court equivalent of a guilty plea; the teen was originally charged in regular criminal court, but the case was transferred to the juvenile level.

Appealing a veterans benefits decision can take years

The Veterans’ Administration pays disability benefits to veterans, whether their condition is service-related or not. However, many veterans believe that the VA wrongfully rejected their claim, or that the agency minimized the severity of their disability. Veterans seeking a second chance to get disability benefits may appeal, but critics say that it can take years before their appeal is heard.

In the meantime, the disabled veteran may struggle to make ends meet, without the ability to work full-time, if at all. It seems that those who sacrificed their health for their country deserve better.

Study: many health problems more common among adults with autism

A recent study indicates that there are a great many mental and physical conditions that adult autism sufferers have a higher risk of developing than adults without autism.

The study was done by researchers with Kaiser Permanente Northern California. The researchers looked over the health insurance records of over 23,000 individuals at or over the age of 18. The records were all of individuals that, between 2008 and 2012, enrolled in health insurance plans provided by Kaiser Permanente. Over 2,100 of these individuals were individuals that were diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum.

How does fibromyalgia affect your ability to work?

May 12 is National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. For those who are not living with this condition, or do not know someone who is, it is a good opportunity to learn more about a chronic condition that affects about 10 million people in the U.S., including here in Maryland.

Fibromylagia was not well understood until relatively recently, and there is no cure. It is associated with many symptoms, but chronic pain is the most common side effect of fibromyalgia. The pain can be felt throughout the entire body, or move from body part to body part.

Family builds house to accommodate sons' disabilities

After many years of planning, the parents of two disabled sons have their dream home. The $2 million, 7,000 square-foot house meets their two top desires: it accommodates their son’s physical limitations, while avoiding an institutional look.

Parents raising a disabled child in Maryland know that in many cases, their homes need to be adapted to accommodate their son’s or daughter’s abilities. Ramps may need to be added, cabinets and sinks lowered, and so on. This is necessary so that the child can get around and perform everyday tasks to the best of his or her abilities.

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